A helpful way to reconceptualize planning for me is "to spend time working ON your life instead of just IN your life." That way I don't think of it as work, or business, or something only geeky or smart people do.
I first ran across the concept in a book on church planting - the fact that yes a pastor needs to do stuff pastors do by loving people, preaching the Word, etc. But a pastor also needs to spend time working ON the church - where are we going, what's working well/not well, etc. That's true for every worker, every owner, every person.
"Those who plan what is good find love and faithfulness." Proverbs 14:22
Sunday's message applied these and similar Proverbs to our personal lives. This week, I took some of our church staff away to a mountain house to do the same for our church. We set aside two days of time to work on the church, not in it. Planning is hard work - everyone came home tired. Even though we essentially sat in a circle in a big room with a beautiful view and talked/discussed/argued/prayed/laughed while eating snacks for 24 hours. This staff team has reached a refreshingly unified and productive stage of working and being together, and it showed this week.
(here's a picture of some staff women 'hashtagging' - the lasting goofy memory of this planning retreat - naming the twitter hashtag that would be most appropriate to each funny/ridiculous/inappropriate comment made during our meetings)
We followed up the plan for 2012 ministry that we set last August by adding detail to the rest of this year, and addressed a few specific decisions to be made (most of our time was around September-December sermon series and related ministry, so that we are leading the church with the Word in the worship of the people of God). We already have the dates set for two days in August when we will seek the Spirit of God, in leadership community, for our 2013 plans.
Have you set aside a bit of time in your week, or month, or year to work ON your life? ON your business or ministry? Here is a copy of our retreat agenda, i thought you might like to see it:
LFC Strategy and Planning Retreat March 19-20, 2012 The Snider Shack, Boone NC
1. Before we shape the church, reflect on how God is shaping you: Isaiah 49:2 How is the LORD using events of the past 12 months to sharpen you for ministry?What target has God sharpened you to most uniquely hit in ministry?
2. Future thoughts – a look at our 3-5 year goals, where we’ve come from and where we’re going - to inform current year ministry
3. Evaluate first quarter of our 2012 Strategic Ministry Plan (sermon series, leadership weekend, building-opening Farris concert, House of Blues kickoff attached to building opening, practical life series to connect new spiritual seekers)
4. “ Teach Team” Sermon series plan rest of 2012. Bare bones plans were made last August; relook at current plan that’s been filled out by the pastors:
a. where do we want to synchronize all lfc content (like HOB)? Where can we take a creative zig or zag with this plan?
b. FOCUSED planning/brainstorming on fall missio dei series: goal is an Attractional (high attendance) series that is around ‘Loving the Poor Missio Dei’ – Gospel impact through extension of Missio Dei publicly in LKN, further discipleship of LFC Ministry Partners in missio dei biblical themes
5. Inform/Discuss/Calendar ministry plans rest of year.
i. September and January Lake Forest leadership weekend date and content ii. Each ministry
5. Transition to Jesse as Executive Director on staff, a case study: Mike’s sabbatical.
a..Here’s what I see, my expectations for summer sabbatical (“When I return August 1, if X has happened, it would mean success for…ministry…XD transition”)
b.. Working sabbatical plan for LFC – review. What do you see – concerns, rough spots, ideas etc to be planned for?
6. Decision to be made:
- All LFC celebration outdoor Sunday worship at end of Celebrate series? or mid-summer for momentum factor? Where/how?